Everything is going green these days—even domain names. With the explosion of filings of trademark applications with the United States Patent and Trademark Office in the past several years for proposed marks including the terms “green,” “clean” or “eco,” domain name registrations have also seen a boom in use of these terms. Some have described the phenomenon as a “green gridlock”: companies are clamoring to convey a “green” or environmentally friendly message to potential consumers. Burgeoning brands—and trademarks—are getting lost in all the clutter. Similarly, companies seeking to adopt such trademarks are finding it difficult to secure domain names containing these terms, or they are finding that competitors offering similar services are using similar domain names, confusing potential consumers and weakening their brands. For example, a quick check of the WHOIS domain name database, which provides information regarding ownership of domain names, reveals that three separate and apparently unrelated entities own the domain names cleanenergy.com‚ cleanenergy.org, and cleanenergy.net.
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